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Crafting in the Summer Heat

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After at least four weeks of unbroken sunshine we have now hit a rainy patch, but to be honest I’m grateful. The garden really needed it, and no matter how often you water it by the hosepipe the rain always seems to be better for it.

I need to update my posts from a year or two ago about daffodils and violas because I have collected some more truly stunning plants, especially the daffodils.  The photo below is my favourite photo of our garden so far this year, and will probably remain so!


Daffodil Garden

Daffodil Garden



Since then the daffodils have died back and have been replaced by a riot of late spring and early summer perennials, biennials and bulbs:





We have also created a central flower bed with all the soil we dug from the pond and the shed foundations which now has two apple trees in it (below):





Central Flower Bed




It’s been a couple of months since I last wrote. Since then I’ve had to put my cat painting of Zac on hold as I have a new commission for a watercolour of two sprockerdoodledoos! That’s my made-up name for springy curly-coated poodle crosses. These two are called Isla and Belle and the photo below shows the progress of Belle’s face.




Watercolour Painting of two Cockerdoodles - Belle and Isla

Watercolour Painting of two Cockerdoodles – Belle and Isla


I love painting the texture of their fur as it hangs in curls and you can make it look like you could run your hands through it. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with these two and they’re both lovely. Isla is very toy-orientated whilst Belle is younger and still a bouncy puppy.  I’ll keep you updated!





Did I mention that I bought a Firewriter pyrography pen last year? I used to have a large clunky one which was okay but my hand was too far away from the nib to draw with accuracy. Last year I was researching pyrography pens and came across a modern version called the ‘Firewriter’ which is lightweight with a grip closer to the nib. It also has various heat settings which means shading is a lot easier.

I was looking for a new pen because I’ve wanted to make some wooden clocks for a long time and I wanted to be able to burn my designs into the surface. I’m not sure why I chose to make clocks particularly, but I like the idea of adding beauty to a useful object. What’s that William Morris quote?:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

My wonderful husband Steve made me a clock shape from maple wood and I began covering it with wildlife-inpsired images. The front features an owl and a stag, then I gradually worked my way around, adding silver birch trees and other creatures as I went. There’s a red squirrel, a woodpecker, a badger, a hare, blue tits and a wren.



Steve looked in his stash and found four cute solid brass feet and then he made me a brass moon which sits on the front and matches the feet beautifully.  On the back he made a planished copper plate to hide the mechanism.  I am extremely pleased with the result. It sold on my Etsy shop immediately which was hugely gratifying. Since then we returned to ‘Tree on the Hill’ at Bothel (our local timber supplier) and picked up some more pieces. Steve has already turned three of them into clocks and between us we’ve got loads of decoration ideas. Watch this space!



I’ve been busy on the sewing machine as well and I was particularly pleased with my ‘Piggywagon’! I designed it from scratch. I made one a couple of years ago (below left) but it was a too big. Guinea pigs like to be able to snuggle into their beds and feel the safety of being enclosed. This redesigned PiggyWagon (below right)  is just the right size for one of two pigs and is washable. Most of all, it’s fun! It sold on my Etsy shop recently so I need to make another.






I also have hanging ‘RooQubes’ and Plushpipes. The Plushpipes are great for rats and degus. My own two degu boys Saxon and Pan love theirs. The entrance stays open but it’s long enough for them to be able to get right in and snuggle down together.



The shed looks much more like an ’emporium of craft’ now. Unfortunately it’s messy but I have to accept that it’s just the way I work! There’s always at least one mug with week-old tea in it hidden somewhere down there. I’m pleased to say that Steve and my dad shifted my piano down there so I’ve taken playing back up again, and I’ve also got my French books out and started to relearn that as well! I think the summer weather inspires me!

My mam also came round and made a set of curtains for the shed (below left).  It would have taken me days to make them but my mam whipped them up in an afternoon (below right)!







I also decided to get a bit creative when we had to buy a new van to replace our old one, named ‘Raoul’, which packed up the week before Christmas.  We were sad to see him go.  Our new van is exactly the same model, but has side windows, is about a foot longer and has, more importantly, a turbo!  We have named her ‘Apocalypto’ (Lippy for short!).  Anyway, Lippy needed curtains, so Steve found an old staircase dust sheet which was exactly the right width, and I made a bunch of curtains.  I am very proud of them! As a homage to the hippy van-living lifestyle we crave, I got some Dylon and tie-dyed them.  I think they look great!  Here they are below drying in the sun:









Steve has been busy in his shed helping me with clocks, but also working on new guitars.  I wanted to show you this guitar top with an amazing pierced soundhole rosette.  My job, should I choose to accept it, is to use my pyrography pen to add details into the flowers and the birds.  Can’t wait!  It’s great to be able to have sheds side by side and work together on projects.



Stephen John Guitars Pierced Soundhole

Stephen John Guitars Pierced Soundhole




Finally, I will leave you with a photo of Kizzy (below).

Her Studio?  Kizzy’s shed more like!






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